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Vicki Cobb, who has access to both iChat and Skype, also takes online chatting to another level with video conferencing. She kicks off the program with a videoconference with the class, and kids can interact and ask her questions as she explains the project, which is based on her book, We Dare You . The students become involved in an assortment of visual activities during the video conference. As the author is a science book writer, these visual activities usually include science experiments or other activities taken from the above-mentioned book. This event not only draws the students in to the program but gives them a broad visual field that stimulates creativity and learning.


An optional second video conference has Vicki actually directing a videotaping remotely. This gives the teachers and students the opportunity to learn how to use video to communicate effectively and also provides a learning experience in how to direct a movie.


A third video conference, at the end of the project is a discussion with the author about the science involved in the videos. Throughout the project, Vicki is available to answer questions directly through email.


Raw footage may then to be sent to Vicki via the web (she'll explain how to do this) for editing and publishing on her website as part of the video project she has been developing. She makes it clear from the outset that not everyone will be published but everyone will have fun. Scheduling is flexible upon request.

Then there is Vicki's Science Surprises program, a highly entertaining fast-paced interactive show that gets kids excited and enthusiastic about science, reading and poetry. Everyone in the audience experiences illusions and individuals participate in doing irresistible challenges from We Dare You ! Vicki shares a poem she wrote as a child, explains how she writes about the real world by experiencing it personally as part of her research, then leads kids through a number of discoveries about themselves (illusions) and their families. With the help of the teachers and much interactivity, they do an exercise where they actually go through a discovery process, thinking as scientists think. By the end of the program, kids will have experienced personal limitations of their senses, gained an understanding of how science makes discoveries despite the limitations of senses and experiences, and gained a motivation to read Vicki's other award-winning science books.

While Vicki would prefer small classroom size audiences, as smaller groups would get more out of the program, she can do video conferences for large groups as needed.


The school would need a webcam, software, static IP, and a video camera for the computer. Parents would also need to sign release forms for the students involved.


For Skyping or iChatting, Vicki finds a Q&A program with the audience works best.


For more information, contact BalkinBuddies, and Catherine Balkin will provide you with the links further explaining Vicki Cobb's video conferences.


Students must be familiar with some of her books, especially We Dare You .


Vicki will also be happy to autograph bookplates in advance, but be sure to send them to her in a timely manner so she can sign them and get them back to you before the video conference.


If you would like a different kind of program, please let us know before setting up the video conference or online chat, and please provide a general idea of what you would like. Further details will be needed at least a week before the event so Vicki can prepare.



$300 * for 1 one-hour long chat

$500 * for 2 one-hour long chats over the course of a day

$750 * for 3 one-hour long chats over the course of a day


$300 to $400 * the fees vary, depending on what program is requested.

Please visit Vicki Cobb   to see her bio, then follow the three other links at the top of the page for a list of her books, information on her presentations when she comes to do a physical visit, and book ordering information for getting her books from a variety of sources.

If you would like to see a video discussing her professional development approach, go to


Grade levels: K-8

Residence: NY




Vicki was great! I gathered over 120 fourth graders in the library to watch her. It was phenomenal. In fact, one of the other campuses called me right away for information. I would love to have her back next school year as well. We had some technical difficulties but it was still great. We ended up having a video conference rather than a Skype session so it was much more elaborate and required more equipment. Our techs were able to secure equipment from another campus and bring it in for us. Hopefully it will be something we can replicate next year.

I'm very appreciative. You have exposed not only me, but the district as a whole, to an incredible new venue of bringing authors to students who may not otherwise be afforded this opportunity. We broke ground with this endeavor. It was the first of its kind in our district and hopefully we will venture forward with more author sessions.


Analine L. Johnson – Librarian

Rodolfo Centeno Elementary

2710 La Pita Mangana Rd.

Laredo , Texas 78046

(956) 473-8813 (direct)

(956) 473-8800 (school's gen)

(956) 473-8899 fax



We all had a delightful time with Vicki! The cyberspace hook-up allowed both of our campuses to interact with Vicki. She spoke about using science in the classroom and the library, showed several video clips, encouraged and responded to questions and comments from both classes as well as sharing her InkThinkTank and personal websites with us. We ended with me performing her Flying Tea Bag experiment in which a burning tea bag quickly floats up to the ceiling!

Thank you so much…. My students left last night's class with a strong appreciation of using science with their students.


Elisabeth Simmons

Adjunct Instructor of Education

University of Delaware

(contact information available upon request)